Kawhi Is Not Tim Duncan
Tim Duncan set the standard for what became known as “The Spurs Way,” which is understood to mean selfless sacrifice on and off the floor. The thinking went: if Duncan, arguably the best power forward of all time, set the bar high, everyone else would be held accountable. It worked—Duncan and the Spurs’ five NBA titles will attest.
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That extended to contract talks and taking less money than the max, or trusting the singular word of team doctors. The Spurs Way wasn’t challenged.
Leonard is the best Spur since Duncan was drafted in 1997. Though his stoic outward demeanor is similar to Duncan’s, the comparisons might end there.
The Spurs doctors have cleared Leonard, but he has sought second opinions from medical personnel outside the organization and hasn’t been cleared from the independent doctors.
“The ‘totally cleared’ part? The doctors are saying they feel you can’t harm the injury anymore if you play. Outside of a freak accident,” the executive said. “But if you don’t feel you are, it’s a mental part for these guys. That’s big.”cheap nfl jerseys first
Leonard can be offered a “supermax” contract this summer, a five-year deal worth up to $219 million. But rival executives feel neither the Spurs’ offer nor Leonard’s accepting the offer is a certainty—thus the trickiness of the Spurs’ old-school ways and Leonard’s modern sensibilities.
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“As a player, potential free agent, that sticks a little to him,” the executive said. “If you rush him, you end up with Grant Hill in Orlando.”
Hill was one of the game’s five best players as a Detroit Piston, but he played on an ankle injury at the end of the 2000 season that should’ve sidelined him. It was the start of a cycle that robbed Hill of his prime years as he left Detroit for Orlando that summer. It took five years before he found his health again, and he turned into just a valuable role player as his career wound down.
One can assume Leonard doesn’t want to put himself in such a vulnerable position. Injuries to Stephen Curry, Jimmy Butler and Irving are all leg issues—perhaps a byproduct of a changing game that requires more torque and cutting as offenses grow more sophisticated. It’s not a stretch to say Leonard, possibly the NBA’s best two-way player, needs his body at optimal condition to be the player he expects to be. nfl women jerseys